Raincoat sparkle

I’ve always enjoyed seeing how raincoats can sparkle and look amazing. I’ve used Jalie City Coat pattern for this raincoat success.

Do you remember back at school the smell of plastic yellow raincoats? This is one of my distinct school day memories and I’m so glad this fabric has raised the bar on stylish and affordable raincoats.

This Raincoat Fabric comes in 4 colourways and I was so tempted to make the black version but I chose the purple colour. It’s amazing in real life.

The Fabric

This fabric is bonded so the plastic side is the ‘right’ side and the ‘wrong side is woven. If you’re not watching the fabric as you sew it, it can move quite a bit.

The plastic side tends to stick to itself so once you’ve cut out the pattern pieces, make sure you take the time to release the pieces from each other. There were a few times I thought I’d lost some pattern pieces but they were all there. I just had to look at them closer.

One thing I discovered is that you can lightly iron this fabric on the wrong side as long as you use a cotton ironing cloth. This will stop the plastic from melting. I did a spot of ironing on some of the seams but I used my ironing cloth and ironing ham. I only ironed each seam for no more than 5 seconds. That was enough time to avoid ruining the fabric.

Later on I realised that using an iron-on interfacing was not going to work to reinforce the front seams for buttons and buttonholes. I used a wide strip of black woven fabric from my stash to give the front of the raincoat stability. It worked a dream and you can use any fabric because it won’t be seen.

Seam Finishes

I mulled about this before I started working on this project. If the fabric had only been plastic, I may have used bias tape to finish the seams.

The base fabric is soft, so the fabric edges are also soft and do not fray so I’ve left them in their raw state. You can see how I’ve tested out using the overlocker to finish these seams. This really didn’t make much difference to the wear of the fabric and overlocking added more weight to the seam that I didn’t like.

The other finish that I would have loved to use on this coat was topstitching. Because this is a ‘raincoat’ I decide to avoid adding more holes in the fabric that would need to be sealed later.

What I am investigating at the moment is using a light-weight sealant on these seams and until I find a decent one, this will be a faux-raincoat.

Lining the Coat

I chose to use Jalie’s City Coat pattern because it’s unlined.

Sizing

There is enough weight in this raincoat that it sits nicely as a coat and I’ve made it two sizes bigger than I needed so there is some airflow when I wear it.

This pattern has a hood option so I will make the hood later and attach it using buttons on the outside of the collarband.

Right now I love the existing collar.

Will I really wear this coat?

Yes. Especially when it might rain. Once I figure out how to seal the seams this will be a cool looking faux raincoat. I know I have a time of Odicoat in my sewing room.

And that’s the second part of the tale of two coats.

Thanks Minerva!

It’s in the writing

Using this double border fabric from Minervadotcom was a great way to start off the New Year.

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New Look 6468 has a few relaxed style jumpsuits and dresses and this cotton broadcloth really stood up to the test of being worn on a 45C afternoon here in Sydney. We’ve had many bushfires and the air here is hazy on most days.

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As soon as I received this fabric I gave it a wash and within 30 minutes it was dry and it looked like it had been ironed too. That’s how hot it is at the moment.

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The fabric is black and grey so when I chose the buttons, I filtered the buttons to 2 hole. Minerva website gives you that search ability. The pattern suggests 1.3cm buttons so the everyday basic buttons were the logical choice.

The cool thing about these buttons is they have a greyness to them in the centre so I was really chuffed when I received these in my package for this month.

I always look forward to the packages that the team at Minerva sends me.

Now I already owned New Look 6468 because I collect jumpsuit patterns.

This month’s choice was to simply make a nice casual dress to get me through the hot Summer temps we’ll have to get through for the next 3 months.

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The fabric:

Here’s the good aspect of using a double border print. You can use both sides and get more use out of the fabric.

This print on one side of the fabric is further from the selvedge that the other side of the fabric.

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I used this to my advantage. The skirt pattern used for this dress is the same front and back.

Now I have a prominent backside so I need to lower the back skirt. Do you see where I’m heading to?

The front skirt was cut along the print that was close to the selvedge.

The back skirt piece was cut along the print side that was further from the selvedge.

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And voila. The skirt pieces didn’t waste too much of the print but worked for my body shape. 

That’s a win in my books. 

The other good part about this fabric is that it’s very affordable so really, you can get a lot of good used from this fabric. 

It does create a really neat little black day dress to wear wherever you need to be. Heels or flat shoes – this dress works well with both. 

The other good thing about this fabric is that it’s cotton so it breathes well. Yes it crushes and creases are easy to see in light colour fabric so the black base of this fabric is much handier for my liking. 

If you are using a hot iron, use a pressing cloth to avoid iron on the grey print. The print will melt onto your iron so just be careful.

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The pattern adjustments:

The basic skirt length for me is 19” or 48cm. I remember 19 inches as my rule of thumb.

Because this dress has to sit away from my body, because it’s so hot, I chose to make size 12 with no pattern grading. When it’s really hot, I find the fabric has to breath and not stick to me. I’m so loving this fabric choice.

I did remove 1.5cm from the bodice length between the shoulders and bust point. This reduced the gaping that tends to happen if I don’t shorten this length. This adjustment has also ensured the armhole sits close to my body so there’s no side gaping.

When I looked at the pattern drawings I wondered what was used at the waist. The waist has elastic in the seams. I used an elastic from a previous order to finish off the waistline.

I’ve hand sewn the hem and hand sewn on the buttons.

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The button loop finish is a fitting feature for this print.

I also wasn’t sure about adding the pockets on the bodice so I created them anyway to see how I feel about them. They look ok so I’ll leave them there.

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Did I say that the skirt has pockets? Well. The skirt has pockets and they’re super easy to sew into the skirt. 

Overall I stuck to the instructions for view D of New Look 6468 and I’ll make this again.

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This pattern was better that I expected. When I reread the fabric I chose was ‘broadcloth’ I did a double take with this pattern. 

Now I’m really happy with this dress and the detailing within this pattern.

I hope everyone has a great 2020. It’s a new decade and I hope you get to sew all the things you have in mind.

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Relaxing into Christmas

We’re having a different Christmas experience this year and that means my wardrobe makes are relaxed and chilled. What I mean is we’ll be travelling and being casual so there are no formal occasions to dress for. Enter Style Arc Avery tunic top using two light weight knits.

Minerva sells multi size Style Arc patterns and I happened to have bought Style Arc’s Avery Tunic pattern last year when I visited Style Arc HQ. They’re a lovely team who love seeing what we, their consumers, make with their multitude of designs. I bought size 8 and I did no adjustments to this pattern.

Strange hearing that I made no adjustments on any pattern but this month my tunic goal was make a top that I could comfortably wear on a 4 hour plane journey or wear in the car for ‘road trip’.

I chose these fabrics because their dark but the print is summer beach worthy. We will be hitting the beach a few times this month so I chose this tropical print for the contrast.

Travelling long distances is constrictive and I had to choose fabrics that breath well. These knits do just that.

Travelling long distances means I need styles that give me room to move but have some fit elements to them.

This tunic top isn’t fitted across the body but it fits really well at the neckline, shoulders and bust. From the bust down, this shape is loose but doesn’t swallow me up.

After asking a few sewing people in Instagram, I used this Tropical Print Stretch Jersey Fabric for the front bodice and the sleeves. I had fun trying to decide what floral motif would be placed centre front so of course, I chose the hibiscus flower. The leaf prints look nicely balanced at the shoulders so I was really chuffed with this outcome.

Style Arc has designed this tunic to be used for both knits and woven fabrics. I ordered the zipper. It’s really pretty but I didn’t need to use it. I’ll have to use this on another Minerva project soon. This zipper is too pretty to leave it in my zipper stash.

Honestly this is an easy pattern to cut out and make in 1 afternoon especially if you’re using knit fabrics.

The shaped hem is uneven and it’s very different to the hems I’ve made it the past. It’s refreshing and a bit challenging because this is a new style shape that I need to practice and get right.

I did need to use lots of pins to get the stitching right. The clever part with this hem is that it provides a good amount of weight when you’re using a lightweight knit.

Thanks Minerva for supplying me with the pattern and fabrics to make this top to celebrate Christmas in this year.

Camimade patterns

Earlier this year I met Camille of Camimade patterns.

‘Camimade is an independent sewing pattern company, designing minimalist and timeless sewing patterns, on the lookout for a more contemporary sewing.’

Clairesews had organised a fabric shopping day at Goldhawk Road while I was visiting London and that’s where I met Camille. Thank you Claire for a wonderful day/s as we did venture to the V&A Museum the following week.

Back to the Camimade story.

Cami was looking at gorgeous silks as we were fabric shopping and it was only after I started to follow her instagram account that I saw how lovely her designs were. Then there was the call out to pattern test so I agreed to pattern test.

Feuillage: shirt and shirt dress pattern:

This is a relaxed style pattern and it’s versatile – shirt or shirt dress option.

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Here’s the shirt flat lay style.

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What you can clearly see is the finishing details of the split sleeve. During testing Cami made some adjustments to the pattern and it now fits together easily.

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I made both the feulliage shirt to go with the Ecorce pants. Go to Cami’s website to see her beautiful photos. She looks stunning in these pieces.

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My photos are my usual look. Nothing special but super comfortable.

The front vents in the shirt version I made are best left closed. That’s my personal preference. When I wore this shirt with the front vents open I didn’t feel comfortable. Now I do with the front vents closed. I added a strip of black powermesh to sew these vents shut. Powermesh doesn’t fray so it was a good fabric choice.

Ecorce: Trousers and capri pants

This pattern is high waist and semi-fitted – perfect for humid Summer days in Sydney.

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These are super easy to wear and a bit bigger than I should wear because I lost some weight at the time. The winter weight loss was intentional.

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Oh my goodness the back vent at the hem is awesome. Maybe because it makes these super easy to wear from a practical point of view.

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The fabric I’ve used is very stiff hence the bulges you can see on this side view photo. This was a test version and I wear these pants for housework. The wearable toiles do get used.

What I love about these trousers are the leg shaping. There is room for my cyclist thighs to I don’t have to make any further fit adjustments.

 

The usual pattern adjustments I did make was to lower the back crotch and shorten the front crotch. That’s just how I’m shaped and I’m so pleased I learnt how to make these changes.

Once I tried these on again after losing a few kilos, I unpicked the waistband and easily took out the fullness that I had gained during the Winter months. That’s what made me realise this is a good pants pattern to have when your weight fluctuates so much. The seamlines are great for sizing this pattern up or down.

 

A couple more

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Once I make a pattern work, I’ll use is a few times more. In this case I made New Look 6351 a couple more times after the initial denim jacket.

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This jacket worked well.

This African wax print was my next jacket. I love the colours and the print is on a black background so it works with the denim pants I’d made last month.

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Then it was time to test out a french style white-ish version.

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Here’s the white jacket as a work in progress. It matches with my workhorse Janome sewing machine.

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Right now I’ve still got to photograph it worn. The deadstock fabric has very little weight so it needed to be lined. I think this will be a handy ‘topper’ for Summer nights.

Thanks for reading.

 

Closing the gap

New Look 6351 was the key pattern I planned to use for this month’s post using Minerva fabrics and notions.

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I chose a grey black chambray denim for both the jacket and pants.

Yes I’m somewhat obsessed with finding the perfect jacket to make that elusive French style jacket so the jacket in New Look 6351 has a v-neckline using the front jacket pieces.

Jacket adjustments:

Adjustments or tweaking the pattern to fit is my favourite part of creating clothes. Ready to wear is designed on a block that’s not me so I love being able to make a pattern fit me. Now the pattern doesn’t have to be super fitted. In real life clothes need to allow me to move around easily and not cling to me.

It would be terrible if I made lots of adjustments; had a top fit me snuggly; and then when I get in the car to drive somewhere the fabric across the back of my shoulders rips. Sewing should bring you joy and not rivers of tears.

1: Sway back adjustment

Admittedly, my Spring sway back adjustment is always less than my Winter sway back adjustment. On this occasion, I took out 3cm along the centre back seam at the waist. Then I added this amount at the centre back hem and graded this to 0 at the side seams.

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2. Shoulder seam length

I love the dropped shoulder look that you see in fashion. My shoulder shaping doesn’t work well with dropped shoulders so I had to remove 2cm off the shoulder seam length so the sleeves sit nicely on my shoulders.

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3. Forward shoulder adjustment

This adjustment is easy. I move the shoulder points forward by taking out 1.5 cm from the front shoulder seam and adding 1.5 cm to the back shoulder seam. It’s not much of a change but this makes the shoulders sit at the right spot.

4. Sleeve length

For my needs, I wanted long sleeves as I added 5 cm to the sleeve hem.

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5. Lining

I love, love, love lined jackets. This jacket is very easy to line. Use the front side, back and sleeve pattern as your lining pieces. It’s that easy to line this jacket.

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Ah. One point to consider. The back lining piece needs to be cut on the fold with 3cm fold. This gives you ‘wiggle room’ when you’re wearing the jacket.

It’s also lots of fun to choose stunning prints to line otherwise basic work jackets.

6: Pockets

Everything is better with pockets.

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This pattern has a pocket pattern for the pants view so I used this patter to create the pockets for this jacket.

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Positioning them was a challenge. I made sure these pockets were 1/3 on the front panel and 2/3 on the side panel.

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Trouser pattern

I prewashed the fabric before I cut out the jacket. The trouser pattern has gathers at the waist.

If this denim weighed less, I would have made the pants in this pattern. I ended up using my TNT Burda 7746 pants pattern.

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The pockets on this pattern are darted on the waist and sit nicely against my body.

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Denim as lovely as this will retain its shape and I’ve been wearing these trousers to work at least once a week.

The leg shape of this pattern works well with this denim so I’m really happy that I’ve been able to pair these together.

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If it fits – wear it. That’s what you’re able to do when you sew your own clothes.

Thanks so much Minerva for keeping my work wardrobe looking so sharp!!!

Paco Peralta dress

The late Paco Peralta’s designs were flattering and he was a great supporter of the sewing community so this month I bring you my version of Vogue 1593 using this denim.

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Last year Sew Much Talent’s facebook group held a sewalong lead by Alethia and I bought the pattern at the time. I love fitted dresses and having a zipper at the front is a style I can’t get enough of.

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The fabric:

This pattern allows you the option to use a stretch woven like ponte but I wanted a classic denim version so I chose this dark navy plain washed chambray denim dress fabric. The fabric is smooth to touch and breathes nicely.

Prewashing this denim meant I could see if it would shrink or lose its colour. The colour is still the same as it when it arrived at my doorstep. I have no worries now about the fabric shrinking as I’ve prewashed it. As much as ironing is a chore, this fabric is a pleasure to iron.

I chose this dark colour because I wanted to ensure the zipper teeth would be the vertical line I so, so need for my height.

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The interfacing is the same weight as this fabric and it’s also a woven base so it’s a perfect match for this denim.

My advice is if you are making this dress, buy the lengths of required fabric.

Pattern test version:

When Alethia ran the sewalong, the key adjustment got me was always going to be the sway back adjustment. This design has princess lines for fitting but no darts on the back skirt.

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Also, seam joins for the top/skirt are at high hip level so while I felt like changing this, I stuck with these seams as is.

Working from the pattern measurements I cut the test version out in size 14. Thankfully this meant I had lots of pinning to do to balance this dress for my shape and height.

The front panel was way too wide for me and I ended up folding out 10cm out from the centre front line. This resulted in the front princess seams hitting me exactly where they should have been – over the bust point and not along the side of the bust.

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Visually I think the front looks slimmer with a more proportional front panel.

I also pinned out the fullness from the back princess seams and decided to include darts that radiated from the bodice princess seams through to the back skirt.

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Once I got through this part of the pattern test, I transferred these adjustments to the pattern pieces and then rechecked them before cutting out the denim.

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I’ll need to tweak this some more for a future dress.

Zipper fly:

The pattern provides a zipper fly for the waist. This piece doesn’t cover the full zipper so I extended it to cover the zipper length and then some. This was personal preference. If I was a whole lot younger, I would have chosen a shorter zipper and way shorter hem length. If I was a whole lot younger, but I not and this length is what I feel comfortable wearing. It’s all about personal preference.

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What about the lining pieces?

Glad you asked.

Lining is that part of a garment that needs to wiggle when you wiggle. What I mean is, these pattern pieces need to give you room to move, so they have vents.

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There is a centre back vent on the back bodice lining piece. So clever. This gives me more confidence that I can wear this dress all day and it will stay firm but move with me.

The back lining pieces didn’t match so I worked through the pieces that were in the pattern and still got a good lining for this dress.

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This dress is perfect for the warmer weather that’s creeping up in Australia for Spring and personally it’s nice that my Winter weight has gone now too.

Have no fear if you attempt this pattern.

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The fabric is fully interfaced so you can be certain that you can wear this dress all day and it won’t show crease marks like you would expect from a woven fabric with no stretch.

Thanks again Minerva!!!!